By Jacob Mahaffey
The Tuscarawas County Convention and Visitors Bureau has a look that is more multi-dimensional than ever. Last month the CVB had a new facade to the front of the building installed.
While it wasn’t the first upgrade the building has had, it’s the first one the public can see. “The CVB has invested hundreds of thousands of dollars into its Welcome Center over the last 10 years, but all of those investments have been ‘unseen’— new AC unit, waterproofing the basement, new carpet etc.,” explained Dee Grossman, Executive Director of the Tuscarawas County Convention and Visitors Bureau.
In 2016 the New Philadelphia Rotary embarked on a new endeavor to revitalize the downtown. The idea wasn’t to just improve the look of the building, but it was also to continue the revitalization of the downtown New Philadelphia area.
Using the idea that updating just one building can bring change to the area, the project was off and running. For Grossman, who sits on the 501(c)3 known as the Rotary Heritage Fund, created by the New Philadelphia Rotary, changes are good. “The revitalization of a commercial district often begins with improvements to a single building or storefront which was the catalyst for the NP Rotary to begin this new endeavor,” Grossman stated. “As I serve on that new 501(c)3 I saw the difference a new awning, a new paint job or a new sign could make in beautifying the area.”
Finding an idea that would encompass all of Tuscarawas County was no easy task. However, one of Grossman’s contacts helped to put an idea together. “George Laurence of Museum Acrylics serves on several boards that I serve on and he actually suggested a reverse acrylic photo montage of historic iconic buildings in the county, some still here and some gone forever,” Grossman said.
With that in mind, Grossman approached the CVB Board of Directors along with members of the community to find a way to beautify the front of the building. “I have a very visionary board,” Grossman explained. “And while they couldn’t ‘see’ the finished product in their heads, they trusted that in the end it would look good and represent the county well.”
The buildings that are represented in the montage are: The Barnhill School, SS Urfer Store, Schoenbrunn School, West Union Church, Gnadenhutten Memorial, Reeves Home, Reeves Smokestack, Garver Brothers Store, Browning Cereal Mill, Tuscora Park Gate Arch, Zoar Hotel, Fort Laurens Museum, Warther Museum, Dennison Depot Museum, Zoar Green House, Eureka Mill, Union Fire Hall, and the Wagner Lumber Co. “George Laurence and I talked (at length) about different communities, different historical time periods and came up with a potential list,” Grossman shared of the process used to select buildings for the piece. “We also sent a letter to each township in Tuscarawas County asking for them to choose one building from their township. The other key was securing photos for the re-creation. Since these are actual photos, we had to have an image of that building to use in the design work.”
Also featured are three buildings from the local area, a beehive kiln from Belden Brick, Ragersville School, and the World’s Largest Cuckoo Clock. “When anyone thinks of ‘iconic’ buildings in the county the Cuckoo Clock, Guinness Book of World Records, and the beehive kilns, used on aerial maps for route identification, were a natural decision,” Grossman continued.
Funding for the project came from the Village of Sugarcreek, the New Philadelphia Rotary Heritage Fund and the Tuscarawas County Heritage Homes Association. The total for the project is $55,000. So far, the CVB has collected $11,500. An awning, new lighting and a fresh coat of paint are still in the works. Want to look at the work up close and personal, stop in at the CVB at 124 East High in New Philadelphia.
This story originally appeared in the September 12, 2018 edition of The Budget. For more news, pick up a copy of this week’s edition available Wednesdays at area retailers. Better yet, subscribe and the news will be delivered to you each week. For more information, call us at 330-852-4634.